How to read more

Books. These things made out of black ink and dead trees. Or complicated appositions of 0s and 1s if you prefer the digital form.

Oh, how I loathed them when I was younger. They were forced down my throat by teachers because they were classics or because the teachers themselves had to read them. They made me come up with answers to questions that I didn't care about and write character summaries about boring deuteragonists.

I hated books. Give me video games, I thought. Let me watch TV I shouted. And frankly, this is what I did. I never read in school. My Google skills were just too excellent. I cheated as hard as anyone could cheat. And well, it worked. No one ever realized. I am admitting it for the first time here. I hope my little sister doesn't read this. And if you do: READ THE DAMN BOOKS!

When I left school, no one ever forced me to reread books. I could finally choose what to read and stop if I hated the story.

I didn't. I didn't have the time. There were all these things to do, and who even has time for something as unnecessary as reading? I certainly didn't. There were too many podcasts to listen to, TV shows to watch, movies to fall asleep to, games to play and, well, timelines to read. So many timelines. I pulled to refresh so many times.

I have always liked learning. I love knowing things. It just took me years to realize. I had to leave school to know. Give me a subject I am interested in, and I will figure it out. I love my rabbit holes. But don't tell me how to do it. That is my job to decide.

One day, I realised that reading may be the best and fastest way to learn new things.

Today, I read about a book a week. I became a reader. People now tell me they wished they had this much time and could finish that one book they started three months ago. Or they tell me how they envy me.

So let me tell you my secret because there totally is one (there isn't). But first:

Why to read

It took me a while to realize this, but humanity, over the ages, has collected a vast amount of knowledge and distilled most of it into one art form: books. There probably is no more significant source. Frankly, I even believe more knowledge is hidden in dead trees than in servers. Why else would Google want to scan every book ever written?

I like tapping into that knowledge. I like knowing things. Always did. That's how my ego works. And by reading, I can fill myself with knowledge until I spill over.

But I don't only read to learn. I also read to experience, I read to be entertained, I read to meditate.

How to read more

I read fast. But I am not a speed reader. I read every single word. If I realize I didn't fully understand a paragraph, I reread it. Still didn't get it? Reread! Nothing yet? Reread the paragraph before, too, because you haven't been paying attention. Still nothing? Yeah, well, maybe go to sleep.

I read a book a week. And yet, it isn't enough. If I read a book a week for a year, I only read 52 books. 52!

Though you probably think I am insane. You can't even manage to read two in a month, let alone one per week. But frankly, it isn't that difficult. There is no secret. You have to follow certain things:

Make time. Reading is not something you do when you have some free time because you probably spend it on Instagram. It's a task. It's as essential as eating or exercising. You don't hope to find time to have lunch. You have lunch.

Take a book with you wherever you go and make an effort to read. Be it at work, on public transport, or at home. Sit down, take your book and read. Lock your smartphone away while you do so. Read consciously, stop thinking about your to-do list or what food you'll have later.

Have more books at the ready. I have a couple dozen books ready to go. And I keep getting more. You don't need that many, but have at least two to follow up. Maybe one fiction and one non-fiction. So you can at least pick between the two. But never read two books in a row about the same topic. Don't even read books in the same genre. It'll become boring fast.

And don't be afraid to stop reading. If it sucks, don't force yourself. Here is a rule I stole somewhere, though I can't remember where I got it from. Read 100 pages minus your age before you drop it. Give it a chance, but don't waste your time. And why "minus your age," you ask? If you're sixty, you have fewer years to live than you do at thirty. Simple math.

What to read

But all this won't help if you don't know what to read. So what should you read? Whatever the heck you want. Anything that sparks your interest even slightly. Though you probably wanted to hear how to find books, right?

I mainly peruse reading lists made by people I follow. Be it Ryan Holiday, Patrick
, Dan Sivers, or Tom MacWright. And I try to find books suggested by the authors of books I read. Or books mentioned in other books. If you spend ten seconds looking for recommendations, you will find them everywhere. (P.S.: I might revive my reading list later on this website.)

Look, reading is essential. You know that. Until now, you didn't bother. Or you came up with stupid reasons not to read.

There is no secret, there is no hack, and there is no shortcut. Reading takes time and effort. It's an investment. And it's well worth it, as every book will make you a better human.

And who knows, maybe one day, people will ask you how the hell you read that much. Then, you can send them this link.